App Review

It’s been a while since I’ve done an app review on the blog, so let’s do one now, shall we? Especially since I didn’t see a Ten on Tuesday prompt for the week.

Here are 5 of my current favorite apps for the iPhone. Apologies to those of you with other types of smartphones, but as I don’t have any of them I can’t do reviews for your phones specifically. You may be able to find these apps on your phones as well, but no promises. If I know about other platforms for these apps, I will list them. However, I may not end up finding them all… the only platform I know they exist on FOR SURE is the iPhone, since that’s what I have them for.

1. Scurvy Scallywags (game, match-three style)

This game is a hilarious take on the classic match-three game. (Match-three being games like Bejeweled, Candy Crush, etc.) It uses pirate treasure as the items to match instead of the common jewels, but then it adds a twist. It also adds pirates to the items to match, and when your pirate is next to an enemy pirate, you either have to move them apart again, or match them to fight. There are quests to complete, ships to build, and shanty song verses to collect (and listen to). It’s all quite amusing, and probably my Game Of The Year (even though it’s only June).

Best of all, it’s only $0.99 on iTunes.

2. Any.DO (to-do list and reminder app)

I have been looking for a good to-do list app for a long time. I’ve tried most of the decent-looking free ones, and I may have bought one or two of the cheaper paid apps, too. Nothing I found worked for me (including Apple’s Reminders app) until I tried Any.DO. This will set time reminders, and lets you make lists inside lists. There is also a location-based reminder, but that’s new and I haven’t fully tested it yet. It seems like it will work nicely, though. I also like that there is a linked web browser app for Chrome. (They were talking about porting it to other browsers too when I last looked, but I don’t know if they’ve made any progress on that yet.)

This one is available for iPhone, Android, and Chrome. Info is on iTunes or their website.

3. Fitbit (fitness tracker, calorie counter, & sleep tracker)

I use this app to track all kinds of things. My weight, my steps, my sleep… all kinds of things. However, I also have a Fitbit One pedometer, and I don’t know how well it would work without the linked pedometer. I do love the pedometer too, by the by, which (in addition to other things) is a great silent alarm for workdays. One thing I do not use Fitbit for is calorie counting. I find that it doesn’t have nearly as good a selection of food items compared to other similar apps. (see below)

This is a free app found on iTunes here. It does have a linked website & app, though you may need a Fitbit pedometer (there are various types) in order to use this. I don’t know.

4. My Fitness Pal (calorie counter & fitness tracker)

I pair this app with my Fitbit app for calorie counting. They sync with each other nicely, and THIS one has a lot larger database of foods. I also like the barcode scanning feature to find food items. That makes things a lot easier for me.

Again, this is a free app on iTunes, with a linked website. (I don’t use the website, though.)

5. Feedly (feed reader app, my probable replacement for Google Reader)

I am sad that Google Reader is going away. But since it is, I have decided to try out Feedly, and so far I like it well enough. There are things I really like (it’s PRETTY!), things I kinda like (such as the wide variety of swipe commands), and things I’m not sure I like (can’t figure out what I want my start page to be, but I don’t like the default). I’m still working with it. We’ll see how well it grows on me long term.

Found on iTunes, as well as a website that I haven’t used but is found here.

Quick WIP & New App

So, this is a quick post because I forgot to share my Weds WIPs with you yesterday. Here is where I’d gotten with the first Mitt Envy mitt as of yesterday afternoon:

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The main reason I took this particular photo was it seemed to show the color really well. I’ve since bound off the first mitt, though I have yet to cast on for the second.

And tonight, when I opened the WP app to post this photo, I noticed that the app upgrade seems to have improved the functionality a lot. I’ll have to play with it more to be sure it is, indeed, and improvement… but first reports say yes! I like the look of it so far, and the interface seems to be moving toward the “slide the front page to the right and view the navigation bar on the left” format that Facebook has adopted. I believe it started with the iPad OS, but since I don’t have an iPad yet I’m not positive on that. It does look the way I vaguely remember the Safari app on friends’ iPads looking, though.

Anyway… by the time most of you read this, it will be Friday! (or later) So have a happy weekend!

Six Things Make a Blog

I am alive, really. Just haven’t quite come back from Oz yet. It might not be a super in-depth blog, but here’s a little something…

1. My niece makes the cutest Munchkin. And she likes playing with “Toto” backstage.

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2. What is up with this weather? It’s July in California, for goodness sake.

3. It’s July. I am having a hard time believing that this year is half over already.

4. Flying people around the stage is really fun. I especially love the tornado scene. 🙂

5. I have a couple of different ideas in the works for stories to write. I’m still in the research phase on both, and am not ready to talk about them here yet, but progress is being made.

6. I love Apple. I got a new iPhone this weekend, and the iCloud allowed me to restore nearly EVERYTHING to the new phone with absolutely no fuss. The things that didn’t transfer were the songs I’d ripped from my CDs and my passwords – which I wouldn’t want to transfer anyway.

Phone It In

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged with some of my favorite iPhone apps, so I’m going to publish a new list. Some of these may be duplicates, and others will be new. I’ll try to make a note of whether the app is a free or paid app.

Disclaimer: I do not work for Apple, nor any of the companies that make apps. I am just a user and a fan. However, if anyone wanted to GET me a job at Apple, I wouldn’t turn it down. You know, if it was a job I actually could do. Just sayin’.

  1. Where’s My Water? (paid & free versions, published by Disney) – very fun game! And it has secret levels.
  2. Snapseed (probably paid, but possible free version – I got mine from a Starbucks download card) – photo app, with lots of good editing capabilities.
  3. Chipotle (free) – you can order your Chipotle food from home, show up, and pick it up. No waiting in those crazy lines. Very nice.
  4. Carcassonne (paid) – an iPhone/iPad version of the board game, complete with computer opponents or solitaire mode. And the multi-player option actually works really well.
  5. DLR Lines (free app, 30-day trial of features, needs subscription for best access) – only actually useful if you go to Disneyland a lot. Which (as you probably know) I do. It’s got tons of good information for trip planning and crowd data.
  6. MouseWait (free) – another Disneyland app, this one focuses on ride times and is really only as good as the user-provided data.
  7. My Fitness Pal (free) – a calorie tracking app, which helps you to determine your intake for the day. It also calculates the impact of your cardiovascular activity and gives you credit for calories burned.
  8. Wooly (paid) – a fiber craft app that works with Ravelry.com. Lets you load photos to your projects and access your project pages. I’ve been told by the developers that they are hard at work at an update which will let you edit your Ravelry projects from the app. Looking forward to that!
  9. Nuts! (free) – you play a squirrel running up a tree, trying to collect things and avoid running into branches. Simple, and pretty basic. And surprisingly addictive.
  10. NOT Facebook (free) – yes, I use the Facebook app. But I do NOT like it. I will often quit the app and use the mobile browser because it’s actually a better user experience than the app. Given how many people use Facebook, and use it ON THEIR PHONES, you’d think they’d actually make a good app. Oh well.

Anybody have another good iPhone app I should try out?

Ten on … Wednesday

I didn’t get this blog written and posted yesterday, because I was too busy celebrating my birthday. Instead, here it is now, a bit late, but better than never!

This week’s topic:

Ten Things You Wished You Liked

  1. (More) rollercoasters. I like some, but most of them make my head crazy. I wish I had the option to ride all of them, without worrying if I can handle it physically.
  2. Avocado. I like it in guacamole form, but that’s it. But since many of my favorite deli sandwiches HAVE avocado, and I tend to forget to ask them to leave it off…
  3. Non-Apple products. I love my Apple products. But they are more expensive, and I wish I liked things that cost less. Oh well.
  4. Exercise. I do it sometimes, because I know I need to. But I don’t like most of it, so it’s pulling teeth to actually get the work in.

Hmm. I guess that’s about it. I guess I mostly like what I like, and I’m okay with that.

Knitting App Review – Yarn U for the iPhone

I received a promo code for an iPhone app called ✄ Yarn U ✄ a little while ago. It’s taken me some time to feel I truly had a feel for the app, and whether it was right for me, hence the delay in posting a review. However, I’ve come to my decision about it.

While the people who like this app will – I think – love it, it’s not tailored to my kind of yarn purchasing. It seems to be more suited to people who have a specific yarn in mind and want to find pattern ideas or get information about the yarn. I am more likely to disregard pattern suggestions and knit whatever feels right.

The yarn are sorted mostly by weight, but I don’t always agree with the sorting. For instance, I noticed that fingering weight yarns were sometimes in the lace weight category. Now, I know some people are using fingering yarn for lace patterns for a variety of reasons. I have done it myself. But a fingering weight yarn does not become a lace weight yarn simply because you are using it for lace. (It’s possible there’s a reason for this decision; I didn’t ask.)

Also, it doesn’t include ALL yarns, but then, how could it? There are tons and tons of yarns out there. Many of the ones I thought to look for were there. One noticeable absence was Blue Moon, maker of my favorite sock yarn (well, one of my favorite sock yarns). However, the designer does seem to be really on top of adding new yarns as time permits and requests come in. Kudos on the reply time to comments, too. It seems like great support, which doesn’t always happen with apps.

One weird quirk that I noticed is that the shortcut to jump to the top of the page seemed disabled. (If you don’t know how to do this, tap on the white – or black – bar at the top of the iPhone’s screen. The one that displays the time and signal strength. It should jump you to the top of whatever page you are reading. Oh – in the newest iOS, anyway.)

So, in summary, while this is a nice app for browsing yarn, it isn’t for everyone. If you want to browse yarn and get comments from other people in an app, this might be a good fit for you. If you’re more like me and tend to pick the yarn and pattern seemingly at random, you might not get as much out of this as the designer intended.

Friday FO: iPhone Sock

Why does my iPhone need a sock, you ask?

Well, because I had a different cover on it, but it broke. (And not because I dropped it. The bottom edge, which was removable for docking and such, was apparently not designed to be removed often, because that’s where it broke.) So I was using no case for a while. And remembered how much I love the look and feel of the iPhone without a case.

But I am occasionally a klutz. And I don’t want to risk my phone COMPLETELY unprotected.

finished iPhone Sock

Enter a knitter’s solution to any problem: add yarn.

I used leftover Mini Mochi for this, and just cast on half of what seemed the right number of stitches.

iPhone case v1

Next, I knit into the front and back of every stitch to double the stitch count, then K2P1 over and over and over again until the thing was nearly long enough. When there was about 1/2 an inch left (or maybe 1/4″, I’m not sure) I decreased every other K2P1 repeat, so the pattern was now K1P1K2P1.

And when the thing was done, I cast off in pattern using a bigger needle, and sewed in ends.

And then I decided I liked it better inside-out, so that’s how I’m using it.

There you have my first FO of 2012! Have a great weekend!